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NYS gives new guidance for golf courses to re-open

After little more than two weeks, golf courses, boat launches, and marinas have been added back to the approved list under Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order only allowing essential operations.

While Empire State Development originally included golf courses as essential exceptions – they were temporarily removed. Now, they have been added back.

The rules are a bit confusing, and while some thought only applied to private, member-driven golf clubs – the language actually allows any golf course to open under certain rules.

Social distancing must be maintained on the course, and transactions must occur online, or with a payment method that doesn’t involve human-to-human contact.

It was a relief for some who felt golf was one of the few ‘safe’ activities amid social distancing guidelines.


New York State Senator Daphne Jordan posted this release on her website. An excerpt is below:

When some area golf courses indicated that they found ESD’s ruling ambiguous, Senator Jordan again corresponded with ESD Friday evening (April 17), asking for further clarity regarding the ruling and its practical impact. ESD responded to Senator Jordan’s request with more information and clarity (below):

“First and as always social distancing protocols and all federal, state and local health and safety guidelines must be adhered to. … the new guidance doesn’t prohibit private golf course from allowing  people on the course.  It also doesn’t prohibit the activities the course ownership can allow on their course. This is being widely interpreted to include golfing… If individuals can access and use carts without the need of course employees than that also should be fine. So, with all the proper social distancing, no employees (other than security and limited grounds keeping) on site, recreational uses on private golf courses, including golf would be in compliance.”

Click here for the full release at